Golf club director Nigel Galvin has moved to allay fears his course is about to close, promising it will be open for business until at least 2009.
Nigel Galvin said he wanted to end rumours about the future of the Mount Oswald Golf Club, in Durham, and has guaranteed that the venue will remain open and play available until at least 2009.
The Durham 2020 Vision earmarks the 18-hole course for office buildings, and rumours that the course is on the verge of closure have hit business and membership numbers.
Mr Galvin said: "We have had offers, but we've had offers for 15 to 20 years. If an offer is finalised, we would let people know in plenty of time.
"Recent rumours have been wide of the mark, with many claiming the venue is already closed or that its closure is imminent, which is far from reality. This, however, has not stopped the rumour mill working overtime and creating more spurious speculation that continues to disrupt business.
"This is all creating a major problem for business and the golf course and conference venue, so we wish to confirm that we are open throughout this year and next and if we can guarantee beyond that we will let members, visitors and guests to the course know as soon as we do".
Mr Galvin said club members had been officially informed of this guarantee at meetings held at the Golf Club in March and then updated in June. Mr Galvin stated that golfers are only usually given a one-year play guarantee, at the annual meeting, which is held in November so this was an unprecedented step by them actually guaranteeing golf beyond the normal one year.
Thirty-two staff are employed at the course, which is owned by Clive McKeag's North of England Estates and leased to the golf club year by year.
The course hosts two of the North-East's most important golf tournaments - the men's and ladies' Macmillan Opens, as well as about 50 members' tournaments.
It is open to non-members, who play up to 20,000 rounds a year.
Mr Galvin said: "Our membership is heading off and our business levels have dropped considerably.
"I want people to know we are still here for golf, meals, conferences, weddings and functions definitely this year, definitely next year and if we can guarantee in 2009 we will as soon as we can guarantee it"
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Kelly's Year To Remember
Kelly McNulty is causing a bit of a stir just a year after taking up golf. The 11-year-old is representing Whitley Bay - she also plays at Tynemouth - in four competitions just 12 months into a burgeoning career.
Kelly has been given a handicap of 33 and she has already had a hole in one at Penrith Golf Centre at the 129-yard second.
It's Jean Jubb who sparked Kelly's winning ways when she gave her four entry forms for "getting into golf" competitions. As a result, Kelly won the Gubeon Flag Day, then won the HSBC qualifier, again at Gubeon, to go through to the regional final in Leeds and she still has two competitions to go!
Kelly has had loads of encouragement from Jean, Brenda King, Audrey Hudson and Syd Davison and she said: "I was at last year's Northern Rock Junior Golf Fun Day at Matfen Hall which was great and so is 'getting into golf' and I've had tuition from Tynemouth's John McKenna and Penrith's Paul Jenkinson.
"I think getting into golf and getting started information for youngsters needs to be made more available."